By Kenny Sahr
Is B2B the scariest initials in the English language? In the dictionary, it should read – “Daunting, frightening and not for everyone.”
I spent over 15 years doing B2C, made the move to B2B and I’m not looking back. B2C was fun – communicating with consumers is exciting. Consumers are picky, but it’s not too hard to find your rhythm. In most cases, you are convincing someone to spend $10 to $2,000.
And on the 8th Day, God Created B2B
It is one thing to encourage your audience to part with $100, and another to encourage them to part with $100k. Your B2B audience are a tough nut to crack. These are hardcore corporate creatures. Yes, they’re real people who also enjoy witty content, but causing them to laugh isn’t gonna cut it.
In many cases, you and your team toil for months to create nurturing campaigns that take even longer to bear fruit.
Know Thy Tech
B2B is far too heavy to fake. You can pretend to know a lot about toothpaste and baby (or even adult) diapers, but you can’t fake ERP or enterprise. High-tech B2B is at the top of the mountain and it’s not an easy climb.
You’d better know your tech.
If you don’t have a tech background, there’s no time to waste. Download and install client-server products – email, web, ftp. Buy a cheap laptop and install Ubuntu; get familiar with command line. Learn how to install an APK on your Android device – or the equivalent on iOS. Low on cash? Buy a Chromebook and a cheap Android tablet and start experimenting!
“But my company has nothing to do with servers or mobile.”
Yes it does – in ways you will never understand as a tech newbie. You just can’t quantify how much a deep understanding of client-server technology, mobile and gadgets will help you in B2B content marketing. Work like Santa’s elves to save money to buy a few gadgets a year.
Keep Your Product Managers Closest
Keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your product managers closest.
At most B2B tech companies, the product managers are the anchors and heavy-hitters. They’re the glue between R&D and marketing. Get to know your product managers.
“Our product managers don’t take the marketing team seriously.”
Of course not! They see you as a bunch of cheesy used-car salesmen. You have to earn their respect. B2B tech product managers are used to working with marketing teams that are clueless when it comes to technology.
Hitting the B2B Content Marketing Jackpot
When you are able to communicate about technology at a high level with your product managers, you’ve hit the jackpot. This is where the magic moments at work begin.
The sky is the limit for content marketers who know how to talk tech with product managers. You can create product pages, case studies, press releases and webinar screenplays that are informative *and* interesting to the reader – with that spark of creativity that you inherited from Mom and Dad.
Paint it Light
How do you explain what your B2B company does to your friends and family? If you can’t do that, what good is all of the fancy schmacy content? You need to be able to communicate your “wares” to two audiences – newbies far-removed from tech and the ultimate insiders. Practice speaking and writing to both.
Add a touch of color to your blog, social media posts and wherever else you can lighten it up. No one wants to laugh while reading a case study about ERP automation, but you can impress your readers with your writing style.
Don’t bore your audience with repetitive jargon. Mix it up, and don’t be afraid to push the limits. Worst comes to worst, your VP marketing will ask you to tone it down. That’s a lot better than being told to tone it up!
Learn From Your Edits
Most content marketers shrug at the editing process. “What the *@$^% does he want from me?” Big mistake.
Learn to respect the editing process and you will improve your skill set at the speed of light. Push back and ask, “why” – with a “Because I want to learn where you’re taking this” attitude.
A good B2B writer is an excellent listener, we just have big mouths and pens too!